Understanding Cinema

To mark the centenary of the Lumiere Brothers first film, and thus the birth of cinema, the Cinémathèque Française created a pioneering education project called Cinéma Cent Ans de Jeunesse [CCAJ]. 

Each year CCAJ looks at one particular aspect of the filmmaker’s language.  Over the course of the year the participant groups from all over the world will investigate this theme, referencing films from the cannon of world cinema that explore the year’s topic. 

Topics have included the place of reality in fiction; camera movement; colour; the long take; mise en scene and many, many more. 

In Scotland we deliver this project as Understanding Cinema through the Centre for the Moving Image

We place a filmmaker in with a  school, and over the course of the year they perform a series of exercises from France that de-construct the theme and open it up to its participants. The project runs with participants from ages 8 to 18. 
It’s a remarkable project as it allows the pupils, teachers and filmmakers to grow and develop in their understanding of the topic. 

My role in the project is to interpret the training from France and translate the supporting documentation, then to lead training for our filmmakers and teachers based on the work from France.  When funding allows Westward expansion, I also get to run my own workshop group. 

Each year we take one group to Paris to share their work at the Cinémathèque Française.  The work of all the Scottish groups is showcased in a special screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival